State Legislative Tracker: Mississippi prepares for primaries tomorrow

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August 1, 2011

By Jackie Arthur

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This week's tracker features the monthly partisan count update, and a section dedicated to the Mississippi primary elections that will be held tomorrow. Mississippi is the second of four states to hold state legislative elections this year.

Partisan breakdown

As of August 1, the following figures represent the cumulative partisan breakdown of the 50 state senates and state houses. In the 50 states, Republicans currently control 53.93% of all seats while Democrats hold 45.28%%. All told, Republicans control 57 chambers while Democrats are the majority in 37 chambers.

Representation in 50 State Legislatures
Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state representatives 3,319 45.28%
Republican state representatives 3,953 53.93%
Independent state representatives 68 0.93%
Third party (and non-voting) representatives 11 0.15%
Vacancies 33 0.45%
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The partisan composition of state houses refers to which party holds the majority of seats in the state house or the lower level of each state legislature. Altogether, in the 49 state houses, there are 5,413 state representatives.

As of August 1, 2011, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

  • Democratic Party 18 chambers
  • Republican Party 29 chambers
  • Purple.png 1 chamber (Oregon)
See also: Partisan composition of state senates

Cumulative numbers

As of August 1, 2011 5,364 state representatives are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state representatives 2,444 45.15%
Republican state representatives 2,920 53.94%
Independent state representatives 15 0.28%
Third party (and non-voting) representatives 9 0.17%
Vacancies 25 0.46%

Vacancies

There are 25 state house vacancies in 13 different states as of August 1, 2011. They are as follows:

State Vacancies
Alabama 2
Maine 1
Massachusetts 1
Missouri 4
New Hampshire 3
New Jersey 1
New York 6
Ohio 1
Oklahoma 1
South Carolina 2
Texas 1
Vermont 1
Wisconsin 1

Independents

There are 24 state representatives in 11 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Representative as of August 1, 2011. They are as follows:

State Independents/Third Party
Georgia 1 (Independent)
Louisiana 4 (Independent)
Maine 3 (2 non-voting Native American representatives, 1 Independent)
New Mexico 1 (Independent)
New York 1 (Independence Party of New York)
North Carolina 1 (Independent)
South Dakota 1 (Independent)
Tennessee 1 (Carter County Republican)
Vermont 8 (5 Vermont Progressive Party, 3 Independent)
Virginia 2 (Independent)
Wisconsin 1 (Independent)

The partisan composition of state senates refers to which political party holds the majority of seats in the state senate. Altogether, in the 50 state senates, there are 1,971 state senators.

As of August 1, 2011, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

See also: Partisan composition of state houses

Cumulative numbers

As of August 1, 2011, 1,908 state senators are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state senators 875 44.39%
Republican state senators 1,033 52.41%
Non-partisan state senators 49 2.49%
Independent state senators 4 0.20%
Third Party state senators 2 0.10%
Vacancies 8 .41%

Vacancies

There are 8 state senate vacancies as of August 1, 2011.

State Vacancies
Florida 1
Georgia 1
Minnesota 2
Mississippi 1
North Dakota 1
Oklahoma 1
Washington 1

Independents

There are 6 state senators in 5 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Representative as of August 1, 2011. They are as follows:

State Independents/Third Party
Alabama 1 (Independent)
Kentucky 1 (Independent)
Maine 1 (Independent)
Rhode Island 1 (Independent)
Vermont 2 (Vermont Progressive Party)

Sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of August 1, 2011
So far this year, 43 out of 50 state legislative sessions have officially adjourned their regular session. This week, no states are scheduled to adjourn their 2011 regular session.

Regular sessions

The following 7 states remain in regular legislative sessions:

Note: California and Wisconsin are both convened in ongoing special sessions, but are still considered to be in regular session. California began its summer recess on July 15 and will adjourn again on August 15.
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2011 session information.

Special sessions

Special sessions are expected to be a widespread occurrence in the state legislatures in 2011, in particular due to the necessity of states to conduct the redistricting of state legislative and congressional districts.

This week, California and Wisconsin continue their special sessions. West Virginia begins a special redistricting session today.

Special sessions beginning this week:

Elections

A total of 578 seats will be up for general election in state legislatures in 2011.

Three state legislative primaries remain in Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia. New Jersey held statewide primaries on June 7, 2011. The next primary will be held tomorrow in Mississippi.

Elections will be held in all 52 of Mississippi's senate districts on November 8, 2011. The signature filing deadline for the election was on June 1. Mississippi's primary election will be held tomorrow, August 2.

On March 17, the NAACP filed an injunction to prevent elections from being held this year. The group alleges that the redistricting process has not produced maps that are current to reflect new population figures.[1][2] A mid-May court ruling ordered the elections proceed under the existing districts, with redistricting taken up again in 2012. Whether special elections would be ordered in 2012 once redistricting was complete was left undecided by the court.

Heading into the 2011 election, the partisan breakdown in Mississippi's two chambers is:


Mississippi State Senate
Party As of November 2011 After the 2011 Election
     Democratic Party 24 21
     Republican Party 27 31
     Vacancy 1 0
Total 52 52


Mississippi House of Representatives
Party As of November 2011 After the 2011 Election
     Democratic Party 68 59
     Republican Party 54 63
Total 122 122


Mississippi House primary election

Primary competitiveness

See also: Ballotpedia news report on Mississippi primary competitiveness

Primary contests in the Mississippi House remained fairly constant since the last election. As in 2007, roughly 2/3 of the state's major party candidates will proceed to the general election without a primary challenge. In addition, over 1/4 of possible primaries will not be held, since no candidate is running. Of the 168 party primaries, only 51 feature two or more candidates competing for the nomination. On top of that, 75 party primaries will not be held because no candidate is running.

Comparing Contested Primaries of past MS Senate Elections
Democrats Republicans Total
2007 2011 2007 2011 2007 2011
Open Contested 9 8 11 15 20 23
Open Uncontested 12 21 27 19 39 40
Incumbent Contested 23 18 10 10 33 28
Incumbent Uncontested 51 40 26 37 77 77
No candidates 27 35 48 41 75 76
Total contested 32 26 21 25 53 51
Total uncontested 63 61 53 56 116 117

Competitiveness

2011 state legislative elections analyzed using a Competitiveness Index

Retiring incumbents

16 incumbent representatives (13.1% of all incumbents) have chosen not to run for re-election, while 106 incumbents are running for re-election. The following incumbents are not running for re-election to the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Primary challenges

Only 28 incumbents (23% of those seeking re-election) face competition in the August 2 primary.

  • 18 Democratic incumbents face a primary challenge.
  • 10 GOP incumbents face a primary challenge.

Candidates unopposed by a major party

There are 122 seats up for election. 75 candidates (61.5% of seats) face no major party competition in the November 8 general election.

  • 40 Democratic candidates faces no major party competition.
  • 35 GOP candidates face no major party competition.

Mississippi Senate primary election

Primary competitiveness

See also: Ballotpedia news report on Mississippi primary competitiveness

Primary contests in the Mississippi Senate remained fairly constant since the last election. As in 2007, roughly 2/3 of the state's major party candidates will proceed to the general election without a primary challenge. In addition, over 1/4 of possible primaries will not be held, since no candidate is running. Of the 75 party primaries, only 26 feature two or more candidates competing for the nomination. On top of that, 29 party primaries will not be held because no candidate is running.

Comparing Contested Primaries of past MS Senate Elections
Democrats Republicans Total
2007 2011 2007 2011 2007 2011
Open Contested 7 5 5 10 12 15
Open Uncontested 9 7 6 8 15 15
Incumbent Contested 8 5 5 6 13 11
Incumbent Uncontested 15 17 18 15 33 32
No candidates 13 18 18 11 31 29
Total contested 15 10 10 16 25 26
Total uncontested 24 24 24 23 48 47

Competitiveness

2011 state legislative elections analyzed using a Competitiveness Index

Retiring incumbents

9 incumbent senators (17.3% of all incumbents) have chosen not to run for re-election, while 43 incumbents are running for re-election. The following incumbents are not running for re-election to the Mississippi State Senate.

Primary challenges

Only 11 incumbents (25.6% of those seeking re-election) face competition in the August 2 primary.

  • 5 Democratic incumbents face a primary challenge.
  • 6 GOP incumbents face a primary challenge.

Candidates unopposed by a major party

There are 52 seats up for election. 20 candidates (38.5% of seats) face no major party competition in the November 8 general election.

  • 8 Democratic candidates faces no major party competition.
  • 12 GOP candidates face no major party competition.

The next state with a signature filing deadline is Louisiana on September 8. Virginia's signature filing deadline was June 15, however a full and comprehensive candidate list has not yet been released. Virginia's primary has been rescheduled to August 23, 2011 instead of its usual date of June 14, 2011[3] after delays and uncertainty in the redistricting process.[4].[5]

Special elections

There are no special elections taking place this week.

Upcoming special elections include:

References